Category Archives: NCAA Men’s Basketball

Mosquera-Perea out indefinitely after right knee injury

Indiana junior forward Hanner Mosquera-Perea will be sidelined indefinitely after suffering a right knee injury in practice yesterday, per a release from the team.

“There is no question this is a blow to Hanner and definitely a blow to our team,” Indiana coach Tom Crean said. “He does a lot for us. The important thing right now is Hanner’s recovery and rehabilitation.”

“He has made a lot of strides this season and we are disappointed for him, but expect him to come back stronger than ever.”

Mosquera-Perea has started all 16 of Indiana’s games this season and has averaged 7.4 points and 5.0 rebounds in 20.9 minutes per game. He had his first career double-double on New Year’s Eve against Nebraska when he recorded 12 points and 10 rebounds in the Hoosiers’ 70-65 victory.

“With Hanner out, we will need everyone ready to do a little more,” Crean said. “We need to continue our focus on rebounding, defense and all the little things it takes to be successful. We are not a team where you define a player by his position.”

“We will have five basketball players out there who understand that our court awareness has to be at an all-time high. I expect our players will be up for the challenge.”

Indiana’s next game is Tuesday at 7 p.m. against Penn State (12-4, 0-3).

Indiana to face Penn State without Hanner Mosquera-Perea

Thirty minutes before Indiana’s Big Ten home opener against No. 22 Ohio State, Indiana coach Tom Crean said he made a change in his starting lineup. The Hoosiers’ usual starting five trotted out on the court for the 11th game in a row, but one starter, likely junior forward Hanner Mosquera-Perea, had nearly lost his grasp on his spot in the starting lineup.

“The starting lineup is always subject to change,” Crean said at his press conference on Monday. “It’s not a given on any given night.”

Unfortunately for the Hoosiers, those words ring louder and truer than ever just one day later. Multiple reports surfaced Tuesday morning that junior forward Hanner Mosquera-Perea suffered a knee injury on Monday that will sideline him for two to four weeks. The program has not confirmed the injury.

The Hoosiers (12-4, 2-1) will get their first taste of life without Mosquera-Perea Tuesday night against Penn State (12-4, 0-3).

Without Mosquera-Perea, Indiana’s undersized roster just got smaller, leaving 6-foot-7 forwards Troy Williams, Emmitt Holt and Collin Hartman to man the team’s frontcourt. Freshmen Max Hoetzel, Tim Priller and Jeremiah April, who are 6-foot-8, 6-foot-9 and 6-foot-11, respectively, could provide Crean with bigger options off the bench but all three have played limited minutes this season.

Holt or Hartman will fill Mosquera-Perea’s void in the starting lineup and Indiana will play an entirely new brand of small ball.

The junior’s injury was out of Indiana’s control, but the Hoosiers can control how they respond to his temporary loss. Crean said Monday that playing with a mindset based on hustle, defense, rebounding and making the next pass is something that his players can control.

Luckily for Indiana, the Hoosiers won’t have to face an elite big man in their first game without Mosquera-Perea. Donovan Jack and Jordan Dickerson are the Nittany Lions’ only rotation players taller than 6-foot-7 and both play roughly 15 minutes per game.

What Indiana will have to face, though, is the Big Ten’s leading scorer, senior D.J. Newbill.

“You have to be aware of where he’s at, at all times,” Crean said.

Newbill scores his conference-best 21.3 points per game in a variety of ways. He frequents the free throw line thanks to the 6.1 fouls he draws per 40 minutes and he shoots 37.7 percent from behind the arc. While the senior guard is Penn State’s best player, the Nittany Lions are more than a one-trick pony. Brandon Taylor, Shep Garner and Geno Thorpe average at least eight points per game and provide Pat Chambers’ team with secondary scoring options.

“There’s a lot of guys on that court that can really, really score, not just Newbill,” Crean said. “They can score, whether they can shoot, whether they can drive it, whether they can post it, they can score.”

Penn State will be missing its fifth-leading scorer, senior John Johnson, who was suspended on Monday from all team activities. When Crean was asked if he had a reaction to Penn State losing Johnson, he said he didn’t really have one.

“They’re a really good team with or without him in my mind,” Crean said. “He can certainly score the ball but they’ve got other guys that can score.”

In fact, Crean said there’s a chance the suspension could help the Nittany Lions.

“I think my first reaction would be that those have a tendency to really rally teams,” he said. “Those have a real ability to get in an even tighter circle.”

Now the question is whether Indiana, without Mosquera-Perea, can do the same.

Report: Mosquera-Perea out for two to four weeks with knee injury

Indiana junior forward Hanner Mosquera-Perea will miss two-to-four weeks with a kneecap injury that he suffered on Monday, per a report from Peegs.com’s Jeff Rabjohns on Tuesday morning.

Mosquera-Perea has started every game for Indiana this season after having never started in his first two seasons as a Hoosier. He has averaged 7.4 points and 5.0 rebounds in 20.9 minutes per game.

Indiana coach Tom Crean has recently said in press conferences that he has considered modifying the team’s starting lineup — meaning replacing Mosquera-Perea with freshman Emmitt Holt — but now he has no choice but to do so. Holt, or sophomore forward Collin Hartman, will likely get his first career start Tuesday night against Penn State and both players will see an increase in their minutes for the foreseeable future.

Bennie Seltzer returns to Indiana in temporary, non-coaching rule

Indiana coach Tom Crean announced Monday night on his weekly radio show that Bennie Seltzer, who served as an assistant coach at Indiana from 2008-12, will return to the program in a non-coaching role for a temporary period of a four months to replace Je’Ney Jackson as Director of Player Performance. Jackson left for the University of Kansas’ football program after Indiana’s game at Nebraska on New Year’s Eve.

Seltzer has attended several of Indiana’s recent home games.

“Bennie, who was with us at Marquette and came here from day one, has been hired as the Director of Player Performance,” Crean said. “He walked into this debacle with us and helped build it into the number one team in the country.”

Seltzer joined Crean’s staff at Marquette in 2006 and he spent the past two seasons as the head coach of Samford. He will take over some of Jackson’s responsibilities, including community and campus outreach and mentorship, per a team release.

“It will be a temporary position in the sense that he wants to get back into coaching,” Crean said. “It is a non-coaching position, but he will be involved in the strength and conditioning and just be involved with these guys.”

Seltzer has reportedly had a long-standing relationship with Devin Davis and his family and he will help Davis transition to basketball and classroom activities after he suffered a traumatic brain injury on Nov. 1.

“You need people around you that understand that it is a 24/7 responsibility,” Crean said. “Bennie gets that. He is a true owner. We were sad when he left, but this gives him a chance to get back at it and get back with us. It’s like he never left. He has a different role, but that role is going to be tremendously utilized.”

“I’m appreciative of Fred Glass and everybody here that went to bat for us to get this done. Bennie is going to be very good in helping us with Devin, as he is back in school now and he goes through his process of getting back where he needs to be.”

James Blackmon Jr. named Big Ten Freshman of the Week

For the second time this season, Indiana freshman guard James Blackmon Jr. has been named Big Ten Freshman of the Week. He had a team-high 18 points and seven rebounds in the Hoosiers’ win against No. 22 Ohio State on Saturday.

Blackmon Jr. leads Indiana in scoring at 16.7 points per game and he ranks seventh overall in the conference in scoring. He was last awarded the honor on Nov. 24, 2014.

Penn State suspends fifth-leading scorer on the eve of matchup with Indiana

Penn State (12-4, 0-3) suspended senior guard John Johnson Monday afternoon, per a press release from an associate director of athletic communications at the university. Johnson was suspended because of “conduct inconsistent with team standards and values” and he will not participate in team activities during his suspension.

Johnson is the team’s fifth-leading scorer at 7.4 points per game and he has been one of the Nittany Lions’ most accurate three-point shooters, making 37.1 percent of his shots from behind the arc this season.

No timetable was given for the suspension, so Johnson will not be with the team for the indefinite future, which includes Tuesday night’s game in Bloomington against Indiana (12-4, 2-1). The game tips off at 7 p.m. ET and it will be broadcast on the Big Ten Network.

Column: Indiana’s offseason additions were successful pickups

Roster turnover is the status quo in the world of college basketball. Between transfers, of which there were hundreds last offseason, and early entries to the NBA Draft, teams are forced to add players in the offseason and sometimes mid-season to fill out their rosters.

Indiana has had a much roster turnover as any school in the past two seasons. From the start of the 2013-14 season until the start of this season, five players — Luke Fischer, Austin Etherington, Jeremy Hollowell, Jonny Marlin and Peter Jurkin — transferred, Will Sheehey, Evan Gordon, Jeff Howard and Taylor Wayer graduated, Noah Vonleh entered the NBA Draft and several walk-ons didn’t return to the program.

Two scholarships remained available for Indiana as returning players and Indiana’s five-man freshman class, including late signees Jeremiah April and Tim Priller, occupied 11 of the team’s scholarships. Indiana’s coaching staff looked to fill out the team’s roster with transfers and unsigned freshmen. Tom Crean & Co. hoped to add size and experience to their young and undersized roster.

Several transfer big men received offers from Indiana, including Boston College’s Ryan Anderson, Virginia Tech’s Trevor Thompson and Temple’s Anthony Lee, but none of them committed to play for the Hoosiers. Anderson, who is sitting out this season due to NCAA transfer rules, will use his final year of eligibility at Arizona in the 2015-16 season. Thompson, also sidelined due to NCAA transfer rules, and Lee, a senior, chose Ohio State over Indiana.

The Hoosiers added redshirt junior guard Nick Zeisloft, who transferred from Illinois State, in July and they swooped in to offer freshman Emmitt Holt a scholarship, which he accepted in late August, before he went to prep school for a year.

On Saturday afternoon, Indiana had the chance to face a player who had spurned the Hoosiers: Anthony Lee.

Not only did Indiana defeat No. 22 Ohio State, but Zeisloft and Holt combined for 13 points on 5-of-8 shooting, 11 rebounds, two blocks and an assist in 37 minutes while Lee played four minutes off the bench, registering one assist and one missed shot.

Granted, Indiana and Ohio State aren’t apples to apples in terms of comparing the two college basketball programs. They have different coaches and different strengths and weaknesses with their respective rosters. Maybe Lee’s 6-foot-9, 230-pound frame and three years of Division I experience would’ve been valuable for the Hoosiers this season, but he’s become virtually a non-factor for the Buckeyes.

He’s averaging 3.6 points and 2.5 rebounds in 11.1 minutes per game this season, all of which are career lows.

Instead of getting one year of Lee or Anderson, or having Anderson or Thompson sit out this season but still occupy a scholarship slot, the Hoosiers have two players who are playing right away and who will play for Indiana for multiple seasons. Zeisloft is a veteran off the bench who gives the Hoosiers one of the best catch-and-shoot players in the Big Ten. Holt could be on the verge of cracking Indiana’s starting lineup and he’s on track to be a building block in Indiana’s frontcourt for years to come.

It’s hard to put a value on Zeisloft’s contributions for Indiana. Despite just joining the program last summer, he was selected as one of two players, along with Yogi Ferrell, to represent the team at the Big Ten Media Day. After Devin Davis suffered a traumatic brain injury on Nov. 1, Zeisloft was assigned to address the media. He’s flexible in whatever role Crean uses him in, whether it be as a starter as he was to start the season or as a key reserve. And Crean has also elected to use him as the team’s technical foul free throw shooter.

While Holt doesn’t have the size of a typical Big Ten power forward or center, he has a monstrous wingspan, relentless energy, a high basketball IQ and a commitment to boxing out. His 15 points and five rebounds were crucial in Indiana’s win against Pittsburgh and his consistent production off the bench has made Crean wonder whether or not Holt should replace junior forward Hanner Mosquera-Perea in the starting lineup.

Indiana fans may have hoped that Indiana would’ve added more size to its roster in the offseason, but they should be happy with the two Hoosiers who filled the team’s final scholarships. They have added depth to Indiana’s bench and continuity for future seasons as role players who make hustle plays, which are often the difference between a win and a loss, as seen in Saturday’s win.

Indiana bounces back with win over No. 22 Ohio State, looks to build consistency

Indiana’s four losses this season have come in a frustrating, ugly fashion for the Hoosiers. Their close losses to Eastern Washington and Georgetown were winnable games. The margins of defeat against Louisville and Michigan State were embarrassing.

But just as the Hoosiers have taken their licks, they have licked their wounds each time, learned from their mistakes and responded to adversity. Just ask Pittsburgh, then-No. 23 Butler and Nebraska, who all fell to the Hoosiers in the wake of a loss by Indiana. Saturday afternoon, No. 22 Ohio State joined that list as Indiana picked up its third win against a ranked opponent by knocking off the Buckeyes, 69-66.

After Indiana’s 20-point loss at Michigan State, Indiana coach Tom Crean said the Hoosiers didn’t compete as well enough as they need to in any game. He questioned their purpose on offense and criticized their activity on defense.

Five days after Indiana’s disastrous trip to East Lansing, Mich., lightning nearly struck twice in the opening minutes of its Big Ten home opener against Ohio State.

Junior forward Hanner Mosquera-Perea picked up two fouls in the first 84 seconds against the Spartans; against the Buckeyes, he picked up two fouls in the opening 86 seconds and subsequently earned an extended trip to the bench.

Through the first media timeout, Indiana had five turnovers and the Hoosiers were 1-of-4 from the field, allowing Ohio State to jump out to a 9-2 lead.

Crean often talks about snatching momentum when it’s up for grabs. Indiana did just that and responded with a 24-6 run that was fueled off of hustle plays, offensive rebounds, defensive tenacity and a trio 0f 3-pointers.

Sophomore forward Troy Williams, who had a double-double with 15 points and 12 rebounds, said Indiana’s defense changed the game.

“Our defense led to our offense,” he said. “We started getting into our flow, we started getting scoring runs and more and more rebounds and then pushing and starting the break, so defense is definitely what helped us.”

Crean credited Williams’ multiple highlight reel dunks for bringing energy to Assembly Hall and the Hoosiers.

“We were losing our energy a little bit and that Troy dunk just brought everybody — it certainly brought our team up,” he said. “You need those doses of energy to create more momentum.”

With Mosquera-Perea on the bench and a quiet half from freshman guard James Blackmon Jr. (1-of-5 from the field, 2 points), Williams, along with Nick Zeisloft and Collin Hartman off the bench, stepped up for the Hoosiers.

Zeisloft scored all eight of his points in the first half and chipped in four rebounds, the biggest of which came after he dove on the ground to beat two Buckeye players to a loose ball and he tapped it to Yogi Ferrell. It was the first of three offensive rebounds for Indiana on that trip down the floor and the possession ended with a 3-pointer from Ferrell that gave the Hoosiers a 17-15 lead.

Indiana never trailed again.

While Indiana had pedestrian shooting numbers in the first half, the Hoosiers dominated the boards and ate up the Buckeyes’ matchup zone on the offensive glass. Indiana doubled up Ohio State in the first half rebounding battle, 30-15, and grabbed more than half of its missed shots.

The Buckeyes managed to claw back before halftime as Indiana made only four free throws and no field goals in the final 4:49 of the half.

Even as Indiana distanced itself from Ohio State in the second half as its lead grew to 10, the Buckeyes kept the game close. Mosquera-Perea and Ziesloft fouled out late in the second half, and despite three blocks from Collin Hartman in the final four minutes, Ohio State ended up scoring after each one.

Ohio State’s full-court pressure slowed down the Hoosiers’ fast-paced offense and the Buckeyes climbed within one point of Indiana in the waning seconds, but Indiana made its free throws down the stretch to improve to 2-1 in conference play.

Indiana has shown that it can take a punch and respond with one of its own, but the Hoosiers need to find consistency in their play. That takes time, Crean said.

“We have been getting mentally tougher all year long, right, but it doesn’t mean it’s consistent,” he said. “You know, when it’s really there is when it becomes part of who you are. And we’re growing in that, we are definitely growing in that.”